Looking Back – Nov 2014 – Advintage

While numbers were a bit low for this tasting it was never the less a very enjoyable evening.

A supper was arranged for the evening and it was thought that this went well and had a good balance of items with the shortbread with champagne concept working well. The presentation had a good balance between John and Mac with lovely wines presented.

While this was a good evening for those who attended, the committee is conscious that the venue and types of wines presented may be possible causes for the lower than expected turnout. We will be seeking feedback from members about suggested formats for the festive evening at the next AGM – asking what do the club want e.g. higher priced wine versus more affordable wines.

Also we have used Advintage for three years now and it might be time for a change. We will be looking at alternative options for presenters, albeit we have had excellent support from Mac and Advintage.

To recap on the wines, they included:

Bubbles/Champagne; Bubbles by Lobetia, Squawking Magpie SQM Blanc de Blanc Brut, Champagne H.Garnier and Co. Brut NV, and Roederer Vintage 2006/07.
Rose; Aronui Single Vineyard Pinot Rose 2014, and Rockburn Stolen Kiss Pinot Noir Rose
Sweet wines; Buller Fine Old Muscat, Valdespino Pedro Ximenez El Candado

See the Blush, bubbles & stickies – Nov 2014 tasting review.

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From the Editor – Dec 2014

We are fast reaching the end of another year and perhaps it is a time to reflect on what the year has offered.

Following on from the regular BBQ in January we had Wright’s Vineyard and Winery in February, a great start to the tasting year.

March saw Alpha Domus, a well-established Hawkes Bay producer.

April saw Dan Baldock presenting some Penfolds wines, an iconic Australian producer.

We tried something new in May by combining the AGM with a tasting from Wooing Tee in Central Otago, while June saw another Hawkes Bay producer in Moana Park.

July was the mid-year dinner at Cuba Street Bistro, and August was Italian time with Cangrande.

Back to Hawkes Bay in September with Rod McDonald Wines followed in October by Villa Maria.

We followed this with yet another Advintage Festive wines evening leading to the December dinner.

Your committee are pleased with the programme and hope everyone found something to enjoy.

And so to 2015. The programme is coming together very nicely and we hope it will be as successful as this year has been.

We wish everyone all the best for the festive season.

Robin Semmens, Editor

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Blush, bubbles & stickies – Nov 2014

advintage-logo-headerDate: Wednesday 12 November 2014

Time: 7:45 – 9:45 pm

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.

Cost: Members $18 Guests $18

Presenter: Mac (John) Macpherson of Advintage ably supported by John Kemble

An extended supper was provided with wines presented on the night to including:

2014 Aronui Single Vineyard Pinot Rose
2014 Rockburn Stolen Kiss Pinot Noir Rosé

Bubbles & champagne
Bubbles by Lobetia
Squawking Magpie SQM Blanc de Blanc Brut
Champagne H.Garnier and Co. Brut NV
Roederer Vintage 2007

Sweet wines – very cool, different  options, exciting flavours
Buller Fine Old Muscat
Valdespino Pedro Ximenez El Candado

The club would very much like to thank Advintage for their regular participation and generosity at our November tastings over recent years. We would love it if members were able to place orders to make it worthwhile for Mac to make this annual trip to Wellington.

Tasting review

Click image to view more images in the gallery.

Mac and JK’s roadshow was even better than the last two years. The tasting started with a quaffer Bubbles by Lobetia, a refreshing low-priced bubbles with citrus flavours – surprisingly good.

One of the most popular items sold by Advintage is Champagne H.Garnier and Co. Brut NV and Advintage are the only New Zealand provider of this finely beaded tipple with apple and yeasty notes from the wooded chardonnay – very smooth.

We finished the first half of the show with the 2007 Vintage Roederer. Subtle woodiness reinforced lightly toasty and vanilla flavours with a superb rich finish. As Mac says, ‘pay that little bit more and you’ll get that increase in quality you’d expect’ especially when comparing bubbly.

After a great supper we got into the rosé and sweet wines. As Mac says, ‘very cool, different options and exciting flavours’.

The 2014 Rockburn Stolen Kiss Pinot Noir Rosé was just as first remembered it back in 2010, candy-floss aromas with crème-brûlée and strawberry flavours.  The committee provided Christmas pies and biscotti to go with the showstoppers, Buller Fine Old Muscat and Valdespino Pedro Ximenez El Candado.

The muscat, oh what a revelation, raisin notes with a rich intense molasses finish. This is truly a drink for anyone, even beer drinkers would appreciate the fine quality at an affordable price.

One last note. “After a brief hiatus, ‘JK’ has returned to his first love with a vibrant range of Hawkes Bay varietals. John has always made wines ‘with a big bunch of flavour ‘, and much like the man himself, these are generous, outgoing wines – full of character and colour.” – Go to Advintage for Big Bunch Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.

Thanks to Mac, JK and all the team at Advintage.

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Looking Forward – Nov 2014 – Advintage

advintage-logo-headerBlush, bubbles & stickies – Advintage

We will have John Macpherson (Mac), most probably accompanied by John Kemble, for this meeting. I think they enjoy the trip as much as we enjoy having them.

Your committee have asked Mac to refocus on bubbles rather than the wider “Festive Wines” from last year. The evening will probably include a blush bubbly and a sticky as festive with straight bubbles filling out the offering.

We don’t have a list of wines at this point but we are sure that the evening will be the usual high level tasting that our November meeting has followed in past years.

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From the Editor: Dec 2013

2013 – what a great year we have had.

Following on from the regular BBQ in January we had the Mission Estate in February, a fantastic start to the tasting year.

March saw Lansdowne and Bijou with a look at developing producers in the northern part of Masterton.

April covered Easter Gold medal wines presented by committee members, while the AGM was in May, allowing members to enjoy a selection from the club cellar, after the formalities.

June saw the trivia evening and July the mid-year dinner at La Cloche.

August re-acquainted club members with Peter Robinson from Brookfields, while September was an aromatics evening with MacVine.

We followed this with a great Grant Burge evening in October and Advintage last month with Festive wines.

Dinner this month at Cuba Street Bistro will see off the year nicely.

2014 is looking settled already and we hope members will enjoy the calendar of tastings we are preparing. Compliments of the season to all.

Robin Semmens, Editor

November bubbles 2013

November bubbles 2013: Mac from Advintage with sidekick John Kemble

Date: Wednesday 13 November, 2013

Time: 8.00 pm start

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.

Charge: Members $10 Guests $12

John (Mac) Macpherson from Advintage presented for the second year in a row. A change of format in that we are going away from the strictly bubbly theme of previous Novembers, however sticking to the festive theme. Mac was accompanied by John Kemble again which proved to be a lively night.

Look at the line-up. There was something for everyone here.

  • Veuve d’Argent Methode Bur NV
  • Champagne Lanvin Brut NV
  • Champagne Taittinger Brut NV
  • 2013 Lake Chalice Pinot Rose
  • 2012 Te Whare Ra Toru
  • 2012 Allan Scott ‘The Wallops’ Chardonnay
  • 2012 Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone
  • 2011 Two Gates Syrah


From the Editor: Nov 2013

November, December and May 2014 Meetings

I would like to thank you all for responding to my request for numbers for the next two meetings. They will both be well attended. There has been no objection to holding the AGM early and have a presentation after the meeting so we are proceeding on that basis.


Please note that despite the high quality of the wines we will be tasting, we have kept the door price down. This is largely possible because of Mac’s generosity in heavily subsidising the tasting wines. There are of course additional costs, eg hall charges and food etc and we have to recover these.

We would ask members to carefully consider making purchases to help make it worth Mac’s while, we are sure the wines will be offered at great prices and will enhance your festive supplies with Christmas coming on so quickly.


I attach a payment advice that covers both the November and December costs. It also provides a space to indicate your preferences in December. Please complete and return to Wayne by the stipulated date.

Robin Semmens, Editor

Looking Forward: Festive wines in November

advintage-logo-headerNovember 2013 Tasting – Festive Wines with Advintage

John (Mac) Macpherson from Advintage will be presenting again in November.

Not all sparkling but all with the festive theme.

Mac is likely to be accompanied by John Kemble again so be prepared for an entertaining night.

The Advintage philosophy, well at least in part.

“When you’re a wine store based in the sleepy but ever-so-slightly pretentious Hawkes Bay village of Havelock North (pop. 10,000) and you ship thousands of cases of wine nationwide each month, you must be doing something right. Right? Well, we’d like to think so. In fact doing things right is all we think about. And we’ve been thinking that way since 1999 when we first embraced internet wine sales. And our humble provincial wine store changed. Forever.

Fast forward to the current day and Advintage is one of New Zealand’s largest and most trusted online wine retailers. And while our business has changed dramatically over the years, our basic principles remain the same as the day we opened our doors. We offer really good wines at really good prices. And we give all our clients really good, really friendly service.”

In the News: May 2013

Some internal Club “News” this month.

Our President and Secretary, (with a nominated driver, ie Mr Secretary) embarked on a journey fraught with danger over the recent holiday weekend. The following is Anne’s account of the trip. I don’t know how they coped.

Easter in Hawke’s Bay, or……..The Intrepid Trios’ Travels


To experience as many wineries (and other delights), in the Hawke’s Bay area as possible in 4 ½ days over the Easter period.


The manager – Jenny Jebson
The driver – Richard Jebson
The navigator – Anne Megget

March 28th

The trio set out from Grenada Village in the morning, following State highway 1 over the Rimutaka Hill. A slight detour to Parkvale mushrooms and then the first stop – Gladstone, where a sticky was purchased to be consumed with Hot cross buns.

Arrived safely in Napier, found the information center, supermarket and accommodation and settled in; had a lovely meal at an Italian restaurant, and an early night.

March 29th

Good Friday – Slight hitch – most of the Christian world was shut for today. We have a good cooked breakfast, just in case we can’t find anywhere open, and go for a drive anyway, to find Unison Winery open for lunch but not tastings. Discovered they have a very nice sparkling rose, and a most substantial platter. Drove to the top of Te Mata Peak, saw from there that Craggy Range was open so dropped in.

March 30th

Slight deviation from wine-ing to visit a Book Fair, as Richard has managed to leave all his reading material at home and has already finished one of Anne’s chick lit books. Went to Crab Farm, Esk Valley, Eskdale, had tastings and a lovely lunch at Linden Estate, Visited Mission Estate for a look around, Church Road. Wonderful dinner at Mission Estate.

March 31st

Easter Day – Hastings Farmers Market, fruit, olive oil, sausages, all very good; Vidals, The Beach House, tiny place, very rustic, very nice riesling, and late harvest riesling, Te Awanga, Elephant Hill, lovely statue, restaurant very up market, but not much appealed in the wine department . Lunch at Clearview table in the vineyard, exceptional afternoon, good, good food, good wine, a perfect lazy Sunday afternoon among the vines.

April 1st

April Fools Day – not that any of us remembered ! Off to the Gimlet Gravels – went to Unison vineyard for a tasting this time, Te Awa Farm, Sileni – wonderful merlot infused chocolate, Abbey Cellars, Alpha Domus, Trinity Hill was closed – for the whole of Easter, lunch at Ash Ridge, wine and olive oil tasting at Salvare Estate, and way out on the Taihape Road, De La Terre

April 2nd

Up bright and early (ok it was about 8.30am), and engaged in a combined house cleaning and car packing exercise; then off to Havelock North. Called into Advintage and said hello to ‘Mac’ and then went Te Mata and Black Barn and then headed home.


Glancing Back: Dec 2012

A great evening, thoroughly enjoyed by the many who attended with a polished presentation by John MacPherson, ably supported by John Kemble. A lovely selection of  methods and champagnes which included:

  • Cuvee Loraine Blanc de Blanc Brut NV (Quaffer)
  • Villa Sandi il Fresco DOC NV
  • Quartz Reef Brut NV Central Otago
  • Roederer Estate Brut NV
  • Champagne Lanvin Brut NV
  • Champagne Lombard & Cie Brut NV
  • Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV
  • Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Rose 2007

The Club is indebted to Mac for his generosity in providing many of the wines without cost to us.


From the Editor: Dec 2012

May the committee of the Cellar Club Inc take this opportunity to thank you for your support during 2012 and wish you a merry Christmas and all the best for the festive season and 2013.

December Dinner

Please note the start time for the Dinner. We have arranged it so that those who stay in town, or otherwise have things to do, do not have to hang around unnecessarily.

Thanks for all your responses; it seems clear that we have sufficient numbers to have the venue to ourselves. What a great effort.

What a great year in reflection. As ever started with a most enjoyable BBQ at Derek Thompson’s house. February saw the St Clair Family Estate, followed in March by Stonecroft from Hawkes Bay. April was a real treat with the iconic Australian winery Brown Brothers presenting.

An interesting collection of really good, and some more basic, varieties that Brown Brothers enjoy experimenting with. After the AGM in May, June saw a Peter Yealands representative presenting. July was the mid-year dinner at Bistro 107 in Petone, a different sort of night but enjoyable none the less. August gave us the second iconic Australian winery with Luke Skeers from Wynn’s Coonawarra, a top class tasting with some excellent wines.

Our old friend Richard Gooch presented some South African wines in September, interesting to say the least, followed in October by Bannock Brae from Central Otago.

November has lived up to all its expectations with John (Mac) Macpherson from Advintage in Havelock North excelling himself.

Robin Semmens, Editor


Cup Bubbling Over: the Advintage story

Marty Sharpe/Dominion Post and Stuff.co.nz recently ran an article on Advintage (10 September 2012) in the Dompost outlining the John (Mac) Macpherson and the Advintage story.

Here is that article:

john-macpherson-advintageIt started with a fax machine and a bottle of affordable methode.

There he was, John Macpherson and a group of winemaker friends, in the corrugated iron shed that went for a wine shop beside a motorbike retailer in Hastings.

It was 1999. His shop, Advintage, had been open for about a year supplying wines to restaurants and bars and anyone they could attract from the street. Business was good but not booming.

Then came the bottle of chilled French sparkling wine. It was a one-off in the shop fridge and Macpherson (“Mac”) wasn’t expecting much of it. But it floored the gathering with its excellence.

So the former owner and developer of software companies went to the latest gadget in communications of the day, the facsimile machine, and rifled off a few dozen missives to friends and contacts he thought would be interested in the wine.

“Within the space of a week we’d sold about 100 cases of this stuff just by faxing. That completely changed our model. We dropped the restaurants like a stone,” he recalls.

Then along came something called the internet and the facsimile was dropped as fast as the restaurants.

Within about 18 months Advintage was one of the top wine retailers in the country.

“I used to get dragged out to all the marketing conferences around the country as the model they wheeled out and said ‘look at this guy, he runs a wine business in Hastings, he uses the internet and he’s making money’,” he says.

In 2004 the shop moved to its current premises in Havelock North. Where once a big purchase was 15 to 20 cases, today it’s 2000 to 3000 cases. They make their way from all corners of the globe to the shop, where they are often just as quickly dispatched to buyers throughout the country, or put on display in what Mac terms “the Mega Mitre 10 of the wine world”.

“We buy more. You pay less. That is exactly what we are about, only we are very choosy about what we stock,” he says.

Mac and his staff of seven have regular tastings and not a single of their 700-plus range of wines has not been tried.

A mailing list of many thousand – the number is commercially sensitive – gets Mac’s bulletins twice weekly listing the new arrivals and best deals, with a few paragraphs of dry banter. A recent one referred to “some halfwit” who reneged on their order of Te Mara Pinot Noir.

“We got the call. And we pounced like a drug hound let loose in a Belarussian training camp . . .” it reads.

If it sounds a bit irreverent it’s supposed to. From the start Mac’s goal was to take the “wankiness” out of wine sales.

“It used to be that you’d walk into a wine shop and you’d come across a guy who was just desperate to let you know he knew more about wine than you did. As a customer it wasn’t a great experience. I’d want advice but found myself getting lectured to all the time. I stopped buying from those sort of places.”

He says customers arrive at the shop and marvel at the selection “in little old Havelock North, population 10,000”.

Eighty-five per cent of business is in internet sales so the staff have never met most of their customers, but from his office near the counter Mac frequently spots those arriving and looking for a face they’ve seen on the website.

A while back he met a guy in a pub up north. The man said his name (Ian McKenzie) and told Mac he was an online customer. Mac instantly recited his suburb, street and house number.

“Internet sales are about instant purchases. It’s such a different world to a winery. Here we know the instant a bottle is sold and how it’s selling. When we’ve bought in a large lot of stock, the whole staff is pacing the shop just waiting to find out how it sells,” he says.


Contact Marty Sharpe
Hawke’s Bay reporter
Email: marty.sharpe@dompost.co.nz